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Traficant, the bully, gets rolled

Published: Sun, October 17, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

It was the “kaboom” moment of this election season. Congressman Tim Ryan, former congressman and now convicted felon James A. Traficant Jr., and health care professional Jim Graham were in a debate Monday night when Traficant decided to go for the jugular. He picked the wrong target.

The ex-con, narrow tie and all, accused Ryan of being ineffective as the 17th District’s representative, saying he hadn’t brought much business to the Mahoning Valley.

The man who succeeded Traficant in Congress wasted little time in lashing back.

“How do you expect a business to move to this community if you got 80 judges and lawyers all the way up the political food chain who are in prison?” he quipped. “And then you come and you turn around and say ‘You haven’t fixed the community fast enough?’ Give me a break.”

“Kaboom” — as in the bathroom cleaner that’s guaranteed to remove scum.

It is telling that the Democratic congressman, who is competing his eighth year in office, had once worked for Traficant as an intern.

Traficant, expelled from the House of Representatives after he was convicted of 10 federal criminal charges, including bribery, racketeering and tax evasion, appears to have lost his political instincts while in the federal penitentiary for seven years and one month.

The ex-con is many things — corrupt, intellectually dishonest, ego maniacal — but he isn’t stupid. So, what’s he up to? He knows he won’t win the election and he also knows that the Indian casino idea he trotted out again last week is a fairy tale.

It could be part of his grand design to secure a huge pay day.

A movie?

There are whispers that Traficant wants to sell his life story to some movie maker and would like the Valley’s own Ed O’Neill — he of “Married … With Children” and “Modern Family” fame — to play him.

And what does the former congressman-turned-felon want for his story? A whopping $2 million is one figure that has been tossed around.

Of course, this could all be a vicious rumor spread by his enemies to undermine his candidacy.

Then again, consider the latest Jimboism:

Prior to his appearance at Thursday’s meeting of the Mahoning County commissioners at which he asked for their support of the Indian casino project, Traficant supposedly met with a local Democratic Party hack to tout the project.

During the conversation, the former Democratic congressman talked about going before county commissioners Anthony Traficanti, David Ludt and John McNally.

He then issued this threat: If the commissioners do anything to undermine his plans, he, Traficant, will publicly endorse Republican John Kasich for governor.

(Slash, slash — that’s the sound of Kasich cutting his wrists.)

Kasich, who is challenging Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, can do without an embrace from a disgraced member of Congress.

Tom Humphries

In fact, Kasich may be wondering if there’s a grand conspiracy in the Valley against him, given the fall out from his being endorsed by Tom Humphries, chief executive officer of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber.

It wasn’t Humphries’ coming out for Kasich that has infuriated local and state Democrats and others, but his reason for doing so: A company he owns failed to get a state contract and so he’s angry with Gov. Strickland.

The chamber head is now under fire and his action prompts this question: If Kasich wins, will Humphries’ company end up with a state contract (paid for the taxpayers)?

Tom Humphries’ identity is inextricably tied to the chamber. If he wasn’t the CEO of the organization, he would be just another businessman.

Thus, his endorsement has the potential of opening the floodgates to resignations from the chamber of prominent members. Youngstown businessman Bruce Zoldan, who has strong political ties to state and national officeholders, has quit.

Kasich can’t afford such controversy in the predominantly Democratic region.

And he certainly can’t afford an endorsement from Jim Traficant.


1davidjohn(144 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

this is the stupidest opinion piece in decades

ryan said businesses wont come because 80 judges and lawyers went to prison

80 seems a bit inflated but accuracy and politicians dont mix

besides chicago probably has hundreds and it has survived unlike youngstown

how about the confiscatory income tax rates of the area like youngstowns 2.75%

how about unions that picket and harass businesses like crispy creme and iga

how about untruthful congressman who claim stimulus money made it happen when vm stars ceo said that was not true

how about a negative newspaper which writes much of its articles based on unsubstantiated rumors
like when it wrote in this article

Of course, this could all be a vicious rumor spread by his enemies to undermine his candidacy

how about a newspaper that is in bed with corrupt politicians like the dem chairman like when it writes about the humphries hissy fit

his endorsement has the potential of opening the floodgates to resignations from the chamber of prominent members

who resigned

zoldan and betras

that is certainly a floodgate

like asking what will happen to the mayors crime initiatives if he becomes auto czar as people are being shot left and right

what initiatives and how about the mayors responsibility to keep the citizens safe

violence is certainly a deterrent to businesses coming here

there are lots of reasons not to come here

but the newspaper cannot admit them

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I think Bruce Cambell playing an older Elvis Presley/Sebastian Haff in the movie "Bubba Ho-Tep" is a better choice to play Jimbo than Ed O'Neil. BTW: No way an Ursuline dude is going to play a Mooney dude. No way!

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3NYR1(19 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I really wonder if more people haven't figured it out like davidjohn has. Our local newpaper is so biased in the way that it "reports" the news. If the Vindy were really objecive in its views, it would laugh at Ryan, Strickland, and Obama's claim that they had something to do with V&M Star's expansion. I am also surprised that they haven't called for Humphries' head along with the whining ambulance chaser. Big business will never come to the Valley with the crime, corruption, and union mentality that exists here.

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4Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

"....saying he hadn’t brought much business to the Mahoning Valley."

Did he answer the question or just give excuses? Which by the way, 80%, is a little far fetched.

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5mrblue(1175 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Take all the politicians and put them in a bag------shake the bag and pour them out--------and you still have crap.

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6arteesto(22 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Jim's initiative for an Indian Casino here is not a FAIRY TALE!. It is definitely possible if Jim could get his ducks in order !
Below is my letter to Jim....The only thing Jim needs to make it a reality is a signed COMPACT from our governor Ted Strickland and no over- ride by the Ohio
state legislators. He has everything else in place.
Bert...how about YOU and the other key folks at the Vindy getting behing Jim for a change. This Indian Casino Initiative could be a reality...FOR SURE,FOR SURE, FOR SURE!
Pat Mackondy

Subject: Hana Tribe federally recognized effort will take forever...A signed
COMPACT by now governor Strickland will give you clear sailing


There are hundreds of non-federally recognized Indian Tribes waiting
for federal recognition from Washington. Some waiting as long as 10

The fastest and surest way to consumate development of your Indian
Casino in North Jackson is have governor Strickland signs a COMPACT
allowing it. Of course, you have to make certain the Ohio state
legislators do no over-ride it.

According to polls, It looks as though Ted is going to lose the Ohio
governor election next month...(and congratulations....it appears you
will return as 17th district congressman)... so you will have to act
quickly while Strickland is still in office. If Teds opponent wins, he will
never be receptive to signing a COMPACT for you...and it will take
years to get the Hana Indian Tribe of Utah federally recognized.

Jim... I speak from 12 years of experience in trying to get a casino in
Youngstown, which included two Indian Casino efforts. I still have my
mail correspondence with you during that period.

I support you and sincerely hope your efforts jell !

Patrick Mackondy

letter to Jim...

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Not very newsy . What should have been investigated is if Tim is going to be bonded to the Pelosi family through marriage to Nancy Pelosi's daughter . More exposure is needed on the relationship . We need to know how effective Tim is . A real kaboom moment would be if all that lovin led to one being in the oven . The debate didn't even get to the level of popcorn gas .

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8bmanresident(607 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I enjoy readin the spoofs of reporters slam everyone who isnt Betras or Zoldan. Jim is trying to do something for this Valley and community. What has the political "leaders" done to bring jobs into this area? Nothing. What has the unions done for this area? Shut down grocery stores. At least bringing in a casino, even farfetched, is attempting something. What has Betras done?

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9theCaliforniaKid(56 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree.

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